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Tshekedi wants to be state president

President Ian Khama’s brother and Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has broken the silence on the presidential succession debate as he declares that he will contest in 2019 if requested by party members.

Khama told this publication exclusively on Thursday that though he is happy with his current responsibilities as Minister, he would contest the 2019 party presidency if party members want him to.

“If they want to give me more authority I would accept and contest because to me it’s about the party. It is not about individuals or somebody who wants power,” he revealed.

Khama also stated that the next president should be a unifying factor and be willing to serve both the party and the nation selflessly.

It is understood that party members from central region, the biggest and most influential region in the party had approached the president’s brother to cajole him to contest the party presidency in 2019.

“It is true that there are people who approached me to contest the presidency. I feel honoured, but my father taught me that; country first, tribe second,” he said.

Khama also highlighted that in the event that the party chooses somebody else he would also accept and continue serving as in his position.  

“I also enjoy what I am doing, we have made progress since I took over at the ministry. If somebody else is chosen I would continue serving people as minister because I love my job,” he said.

Perhaps, revealing his style of leadership, Khama noted that he is a pragmatist and value service delivery. “I fired two permanent secretaries for poor performance. Batho bare Tshekedi o bogale[People say Tshekedi is hot tempered] , but I want things to be done,” he said.

Khama also said he values painstaking consultation with communities when dealing with matters involving them. “I do not believe in imposing decisions. I try to reach consensus with people because if you impose decision on them, you will face some sort of resistance,” he said. “When things are done right, people will appreciate and there will be no criticism.”

The Serowe North West legislator said, the reason why it takes a long time for him to resolve the matter between his ministry and people of Boteti in the matter regarding the erection of new fence which separates people and wildlife is because he wanted to do things right.

“People thought we wanted to take their fields and we had to convince them that the decision is being taken in their best interest. We are about to conclude the negotiations,” he said.

“I also want the ministry to be as flexible as possible. If they want boreholes, we will drill them wherever they want.”

Khama was also tipped to contest the party chairmanship at BDP elective congress last year but chickened out at the last minute. The chairmanship in the BDP is often associated with the position of the vice president.

While Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is expected to assume the presidency when President Ian Khama leaves office in 2018, a tough challenge is expected in 2019 as a number of candidates are said to be lining up to contest against the incumbent.

According to BDP party constitution; when the party is in power, the President of the party shall be elected by secret ballot at a National Congress of the party called by the Central Committee during every general election.

Khama’s revelation makes him the strongest candidate to challenge the incumbent owing to his status as president Khama’s brother and son of founding President Sir Seretse Khama.

Tshekedi, like his brother enjoys support in Central District, the region which is the heart of BDP strength.

Among those who have shown interest to contest include former cabinet ministers Boyce Sebetlela, Tebelelo Seretse, incumbent minister Nonofo Molefi and former MP for Gavborone West North 9now Gaborone Bonnington North) Robert Masitara.

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Government sitting on 4 400 vacant posts

14th September 2020
(DPSM) Director Goitseone Naledi Mosalakatane

Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.

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FNBB projects deeper 50 basis point cut for Q4 2020

14th September 2020
Steven Bogatsu

Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.

The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter.  According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.

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Food suppliers give Gov’t headache – report

14th September 2020
Food suppliers give Gov’t headache

An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.

There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.

The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.

Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.

In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.

“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.

In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.

“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”

Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.

In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.

In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.

This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.

In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.

Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.

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